Cross country runners earn all-state recognition

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Three Father Ryan High School cross country runners earned first team all-state honors in the Division II-AA state cross country meet held Monday, Nov. 15, at Sanders Ferry Park in Hendersonville. 

They are among several students from Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Nashville to participate in state championships for fall sports. 

At the cross country state meet, the top 15 finishers make first team all-state, and numbers 16-30 make the second team. 

Father Ryan senior Ciro Albamont finished third in the Division II-AA boys’ race with a time of 15:56. Fellow senior Colin Knapp placed 14th with a time of 16:33. In the girls’ race, sophomore Katie Knapp was seventh with a time of 19:26. 

Father Ryan also placed three runners on the all state second team. Senior Aidan Nix was 16th in the boys’ race with a time of 16:36 and junior Carson Spalding was 22nd with a time of 16:51. In the girls’ race, junior Grace Feltner placed 26th with a time of 20:58. 

Father Ryan’s boys team placed third in the team standings. Earlier this season, the Irish won the Metro Championship, the Dickson Invitational, and the Speedway Shootout. “We had a very successful season,” said Coach Doug Jones. “Running against strong competition all year helped us in the state meet.” 

The Lady Irish placed fifth in the team standings. This season, they won the Dickson Invitational and Speedway Shootout, and placed third at the Metro Championship. “Our girls ran the mileage we asked them to run this summer. That preparation was the key to our success,” said Coach Robert Kent. 

Other Father Ryan runners who competed in the girls’ state meet included: sophomore Victoria Baltz, 34th; senior Marie Forbes, 43rd; sophomore Audrey Baker, 57th; junior Mary Boult, 64th; and junior Fiona Mikhail, 81st

Pope John Paul II Preparatory School eighth grader Savannah Hurst made the all-state second team, finishing 29th in the Division II-AA girls race with a time of 21:08.30. 

Other runners from Pope Prep included: freshman Kaylee Brackmann, 41st; sophomore Alexis Simino, 62nd; senior Clara Earley, 71st; freshman Briana Lopez, 76th; senior Bridget Kniery, 82nd; and senior Kate Barber, 96th.  

Pope Prep finished ninth in the team standings. 

For St. Cecilia Academy, the runners were: junior Stella Perazzini, 42nd; sophomore Chloe Crosslin, 45th; senior Jordan Schrage, 61st; senior Helen Alexander, 70th; sophomore Abby Miller, 75th; sophomore Layla Perkins, 79th; and junior Emery Hart, 100th

St. Cecilia finished 11th in the team standings. 

Also running for Father Ryan in the boys’ meet were: senior Ben Emerson, 34th; sophomore Will Thompson, 47th; and sophomore Sam Wiggins, 77th

For Pope Prep, senior Matthew Solarz finished all-state second team with a 29th place finish in 17:00.06. 

Other Pope Prep runners in the boys’ race included: senior Stephen Strickland, 32nd; freshman Thomas Arender, 51st; junior Nathan Gafney, 61st; sophomore Sean Meffe, 69th; junior Gavin Sellers, 71st; and junior Drew Sikes, 79th.  

The Pope Prep boys finished ninth in the team standings. 

In the Division II-AA girls golf state championship, Father Ryan’s Reagan Robinson finished third with a score of 72-75-147. She finished six strokes behind the state champion, Paula Liano of the Baylor School of Chattanooga. 

In the Division II-AA volleyball state tournament, Father Ryan lost its first match to eventual state champion Knoxville Catholic 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-15). In the consolation bracket, the Lady Irish bounced back with a 3-2 victory over Ensworth (20-25, 25-17, 25-12, 19-25, 15-12). 

Father Ryan had a second shot at Knoxville Catholic, but fell again 3-1 (25-16, 15-25, 25-23, 25-18). 

Knoxville Catholic beat Briarcrest 3-0 to win the state championship after losing to Briarcrest 3-2 earlier. 

In the Division II-AAA football playoffs, Father Ryan opened with a 14-0 win over Memphis University School. The Irish fell in the second round to McCallie 42-35. Father Ryan finished the season 7-5. 

Pope Prep opened the playoffs with a 42-8 win over St. Benedict at Auburndale.  

In the second round, the Knights upset Brentwood Academy 24-21 with a game-winning field goal by Andrew Southard as time expired. It was the first time ever Pope Prep had beaten Brentwood Academy and sent the Knights to the Division II-AAA semifinals for the first time against McCallie. 

The Knights’ season ended with a 47-7 loss to the undefeated Blue Tornado. Pope Prep finished the year with an 8-5 record. 

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